The ubiquity of mobile and smart devices has driven 24/7 service expectations in every industry. Add to that the constant drive for businesses to innovate for greater efficiencies, and change is never-ending. Technology plays a big role in driving business innovation, and it’s changing the way we do business across just about every industry. In fact, in more instances than I can count, technology is no longer simply the key or driving element of an offering, it is the offering. This is true for HR and corporate mobility pros, where the business of corporate mobility, talent recruitment, employee satisfaction and retention, and of course, employee relocation, are all impacted by technology. It’s also true for moving and relocation professionals, as well as for relocating employees themselves. Let’s take a look.
Technology and Its Impact on Corporate Mobility and HR Pros
In many ways, the integration of technology into the corporate mobility and HR function is great news. Time-consuming and sometimes mundane tasks relating to talent recruitment, employee onboarding, and record keeping are becoming automated. Workflow and tracking technologies are making processes and procedures more efficient, allowing for an increase in productivity throughout the enterprise. Artificial Intelligence-powered platforms are being used to facilitate compliance, onboarding, to answer commonly-asked questions, provide enhanced employee experiences, and also to help monitor and measure employee engagement and job satisfaction—and all represent big changes in the workplace.
Technology also helps HR and mobility pros manage the process of transferring or relocating employees, making the process more streamlined, more efficient, and less stressful for everyone involved, enhancing and improving the employee experience when it comes to corporate relocation.
This adoption of technology is significant for corporate mobility and HR pros, allowing them the opportunity to move away from more administrative functions and take a seat at the strategy table, contributing to business operations and business growth in more meaningful ways.
Technology in the Moving Business
In addition to its impact on HR and corporate mobility pros, technology is also helping moving and relocation experts when it comes to the ‘people business’ in which they are immersed, streamlining operations and helping provide better customer experiences. Some ways technology is being employed by today’s moving professionals include:
GPS Systems and Route Planners. GPS Systems and Route Planners are examples of technology that has been in use by moving and relocation pros (along with the public in general) for a number of years now. This technology and our rapid adoption of it make the days of relying on old school maps to get us from one location to another seem practically prehistoric. More importantly, these systems help with efficiencies in the way shipments are routed, which means they arrive faster and more efficiently, for less cost.
Electronic Driver Logs. Maintaining accurate and up-to-date driver logs have been a way of life for truck drivers for decades. The advent of technology means the industry has essentially “gone paperless” with the integration of electronic driver logs, replacing the decades old handwritten log books with efficient online logging systems.
Online Shipment Tracking Systems. An Online Shipment Tracking System is software that allows consumers to track the movement of their household good shipment, whether it’s moving across the country or across the world. For consumers, this technology can help take some of the stress out of the process of moving, and that’s always a welcome benefit, normally offered by best-in-class moving and corporate relocation companies.
Estimating and Contractual Agreements. In the past, the process of providing an estimate and writing contracts for household goods shipments was done by hand, in triplicate, and with lots and lots of forms to complete. Technology has shifted that process from a manual one to an electronic one, and estimators often do their work on an iPad, prepare a contract based on an estimate on the spot, and the customer can quickly and easily sign on the device itself, making the process a quick and efficient one for all parties.
AI and Chatbots. Artificial intelligence and chatbots are being integrated into customer service operations, helping provide speedy responses to customer inquiries in ways that have not been previously possible. One of the things that makes AI-powered chatbots especially effective is that they’re available 24/7 to field customer service inquiries and can help provide more expeditious customer service. In many instances, chatbot technology is so well executed that consumers don’t realize they aren’t talking with a human. While this might not be technology employed by your company at present, it is likely something that will be widely utilized in the not too distant future.
Technology for New Hires and Transferees
While technology is playing a big role for HR, corporate mobility pros, and moving and relocation vendors, it is also playing a role for new hires and transferees as well. Some ways that these individuals are using and benefitting from technology include:
Virtual Destination Guides. Virtual Destination Guides allow new hires or transferring employees to get to know the place they are relocating to before they even arrive.
Language Training Apps. Language training apps like Babble, Duolingo, Busuu, Memrise and others are making the process of learning a new language quickly an easy task for employees transferring to new locations.
Chatbots for Translation. Chatbots like Google Translate make it easy for newcomers to a region to quickly and easily translate conversations, signs, and other things as they set about learning to live in a new country or area. This is possible by using the Google Translate app and a phone, which then translates through the phone’s screen.
Chatbots for Cross-Cultural Training. Chatbots are quickly replacing websites and mobile apps and can also provide cross-cultural training for new hires and transferees. This can not only assist with the onboarding process, but can make the process of cross-cultural training and integrating into what can seem like a whole new world an easier process for employees relocating internationally.
Technology and Corporate Mobility—Keeping Things Human
As you can see, in a myriad of ways, technology is impacting the corporate mobility and relocation process, whether for HR and corporate mobility pros, moving and relocation services providers, and/or the employees and transferees they all serve. Yet they all have one common goal: Enhancing the employee relocation experience. Moving is one of the most stressful experiences any individual or family experiences, and using technology to make that process less trying, more efficient, and fueled by better communication and service every step of the way is of great benefit.
Ideally, the integration of technology in corporate mobility and employee relocation work to reduce administrative tasks, streamline operations, and facilitate better communication every step of the way, with all parties involved. This allows more time for consultative and human-touch services during what is a stressful time for the transferee. Bottom line: Giving people who are making a dramatic life change the support and tools they need for a transition that is as pleasant and stress-free as possible is good business for everyone involved.
What about you? What role is technology playing in your part of the corporate mobility and employee relocation equation? What are the challenges you see ahead, and what excites you about the benefits technology can bring?